Monday, August 4, 2014

Word wizards

If there's a lesson to be learned here, it's to never second-guess one's creative instincts. 

About a six weeks ago, I was reviewing a campaign one of my copywriters had written for a summer Outdoor Living promotion. It featured patio furniture meant to transform the customer's outdoor spaces into pleasant warm-weather entertainment areas.

"Can't we have a little more fun with this headline?" I asked, looking at the rather flat line she'd written.

"The truth is these chairs are not all that special," she answered. "We don't want to over-promise anything."

Believing that retail should always be aspirational, I thought for a second. "I know, what if we did a short, punchy headline that was a play on words. Something like 'Lounge wizards.' Because they're simple, affordable ways of making your patio or deck into a nice place to hang out."

"I don't know," she said, "Will people get that it's a play on 'lounge lizards'? Maybe that's too archaic a term."

If there's a way to get me to back down on a creative concept, it's to call out that my personal demographic may not be in touch with a modern mindset. I let her run with the more literal headline she'd chosen and forgot about it until I was having lunch at a Japanese noodle house in Vancouver about a week later. I opened the local newspaper to the Home Decorating section and saw this headline anchoring the section on patio furniture.

Lesson learned: listen to your instincts. 

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